deck your halls, dash through the snow…. and decorate your Christmas tree!
Would you like to decorate your Christmas tree so it will be a beautiful shining centerpiece for your home this holiday season?
You can, with these helpful tips.
Each year I decorate a select few of my client homes for Christmas.
Over the years, I've learned a few things to make holiday decorating a little simpler with more impact.
One such lesson was to make larger statements - selecting focal points to decorate and doing away with the little nicknacks that translate to clutter.
So, here are a few pointers for decorating your tree, from someone who does a lot of them each year.
Top tips for a beautiful Christmas tree.
1. ELEVATE YOUR TREE
Even with a large tree, even if its only a little elevated -
you will be surprised at the difference it will make.
Use a low table, a chest, some sturdy wooden boxes -
just get it off the floor.
It does a couple of things...
It shows it off beautifully
and leaves room at the bottom for lots of packages.
Canadian House and Home
Try to keep it in scale though -
a very large tree will look silly on a tiny table,
(and could be hazardous)
2. DON'T SKIMP ON THE LIGHTS (If you have a pre-lighted faux tree… you can probably skip this part)
That means a MINIMUM of 100 tiny twinkle lights per 1 foot of tree. Obviously there will be more than that at the fattest part and less than that at the skinny little top part... but you get the idea.
A 7 foot tree should have a minimum of 700 lights.
If you combine the larger lights with the twinkle lights, you may need less.
(If you have a pre-lit tree with less - you might consider adding a strand or two…)
Use of the word minimum here means you are allowed to use more lights than 100 per foot, as long as you can look at it without sunglasses, you are probably going to be okay.
My 8' tree last year wore 1200 lights proudly.
There is nothing worse than a dim tree.
Better Homes and Gardens
Plug your light strands in when you put them on the tree so you can see the gaps - and avoid them.
And while you are at it, put them on so that they are easily removed - don't wind them around the whole tree unless you want to become dizzy when you remove them...
(no elaborate twisting or wrapping).
Weave the light strand over and under the smaller branches on each limb so that the lights stay in place, but you will hate yourself when you are removing them if you wrap the lights AROUND the branch... such a pain to remove.
Instead, go from the top to the bottom on one side of the tree, weaving back and forth. Then go to another side and repeat until you have the entire tree covered.
You'll thank me when it comes time to remove them.
Follow some of the branches clear to the trunk with the lights.
try to do it evenly throughout the tree
This does an amazing thing - it makes the tree glow from within...
Connect only the number of light strands together as recommended on the package.
Its generally 3, although some of the new LED strands allow more.
(Don't risk blowing a fuse and losing your lights and having to redo them!)
I use a power strip placed at the back of the tree for all the strands.
It takes only a quick flip of the switch to turn them all off at once.
Or plug the power strip into the wall outlet that has a wall switch..
Or, use a timer…
Or, this cute little extension cord with the on/off button.
[My favorite because you can tap it on and off with your foot!]
Once you have the lights on the tree,
it helps to step back and squint
to make sure you don't have any dark holes -
or missed spaces that need to be filled in.
3. ADDING RIBBON
(You don't want to be doing this with ornaments in the way.)
Use ribbon that is at least 3-4" wide,
(narrow, puny ribbon looks a little sad, don't you think?)
and go back and forth across a section or side of the tree,
from bottom to top.
I tuck and twist it in and out - so it twists in and out of the tree.
Disappearing and reappearing so you don't see
any vertical jumps, or even where it is going next -
if you need to start a new strand of ribbon,
it's easy to have the end disappear, and the new strand 'reappear'
I never, never, never, just let it hang down from the top.
But that's just my particular pet peeve...
4. GO BIG OR GO HOME
After your ribbon and/or garland, your next step is to
add the larger elements you have to your tree.
Items like lanterns,
extra large ornaments
Space them evenly or in a balanced placement
where they will have the greatest impact.
These large items are for drama and impact, right?
Use wire or pipe cleaner to fasten into place securely.
5. TOP IT OFF
Don't save the topper until last -
its easier to put it on before the tree is full of ornaments.
While its relatively bare, add the elements you want to the top of the tree.
Toppers can be as simple as a single star
to something more elaborate -
twigs, pinecones, berries..
Chic on a Shoestring
all of the above
or nothing at all...
If you do use twigs, berries, feathers, etc.,
tuck them in as if they are actually growing out of the tree -
and use a little wire if needed to keep them in place.
Your tree topper is limited only by your imagination.
I won't list them...photos speak much more eloquently...
6. ORGANIZE YOUR ORNAMENTS
This is really helpful in making your tree look balanced.
Divide by size and type.
Put them into baskets or bowls, ready to put onto your tree.
This is also helpful in allowing you to really see what you have.
Take a good look at your collection.
You may want to eliminate some at this point that you feel don't work with the others...
or you may want to pick up a few of one kind to spread about more…
Oversized items are really popular right now. Extra large ball ornaments, bird cages, frames, or other items on the large side are fun and create interest. Make sure it makes sense with your tree. If you don't have a theme, make sure they are similar to some of your ornaments in color or style.
7. GO AHEAD, DECORATE!
I have never used anything other than the standard green wire ornament hangers to hang ornaments. The green disappears on the branch and I like the security of being able to wrap them around the branch a little. I have a large dog with a powerful tail - the more secure the better, especially on the lower branches!
With wire hangers, you can manipulate the length and hang them more securely.
I start with my largest ornaments of one kind first, then medium and small.
Then onto the next type - large to small.
Don't make the mistake of hanging ornaments
only on the very ends of the branches.
Layer your ornaments inside, deeper into the branches, as well.
It gives a feeling of depth, and if you have put your lights on clear to the trunk as suggested, they will show up beautifully in the glow of the lights
Save any that dangle down (like icicles) for last
because they need to on the tip of the branch,
the same goes for any glitter snowflakes that are lighter and can hang on the weaker branches.
7. GARLAND ANYONE?
If you have strands garland to add, you should add them now.
Make sure you have enough so it doesn't look sparse.
Space it nicely so that it compliments your ornaments
and doesn't take it over.
Your tree should be looking pretty good by now... stand back and take a look and fill in any areas that need an extra ornament
8. SKIRTING THE ISSUE...
You need a little something to hide the tree stand, and possibly what it sits on.
If it is attractive and you don't need it covered, you will still want a tree skirt
or some kind of fabric to hide the tree stand
and have something lovely or clever at the base of the tree
Popular this year are baskets and tubs...
cottage and vine
If you feel creative, there are other ways to hide the bottom of the tree
the goal being to hide the tree stand and
create a backdrop for packages
Lets talk for a minute about unifying the look of your tree. Just because you HAVE a particular ornament or decoration (or tree topper)
doesn't mean you have to USE it.
And while you don't have to have a 'theme' to your tree, there should be some repetition and some unifying factor to make it all work together...
With that being said.....
You have my permission to retire dated,
old or tacky decorations
and any ornaments that don't make your heart 'sing'.
If you can't bear to toss them, donate them.
If they are not your dream ornaments, but your kids made them....
give your kids a smaller tree to decorate with their treasures...
My clients often have a 'family' tree
with the family keepsakes and fun ornaments
in a less formal area of the house
and a 'formal' tree in the living room with the beautiful, more formal ornaments.
I do the same,
and it's a toss up which tree I love more!
Your tree should be glowing,
and beautiful -
take a step back and admire your handiwork!
and make any last minute adjustments....
And best wishes for a beautiful tree! and A MERRY CHRISTMAS